Bit of an unusual title for a blog?
Well not when I tell you that in less than 24 hours I will be on a plane to Stuttgart, Germany for a trip to visit a fantastic friend. Oh and it is the first time I have ever been on a holiday as a solo traveller!
What an adventure, eh?
So, how did this all come about? Both the visit planned and also the fact I haven’t travelled anywhere alone at the ripe old age of 44?
Well, I will tell you about the second one, first.
I have always been really lucky. Although my family are far from wealthy, my parent saved all year long to have a holiday.
My first foreign trip was at the age of 3 years old with my family to Holland. Then after that there were trips to Spain and Majorca every summer time. At the age of 12 I went on a school cruise with around a dozen pupils to Greece and several of its Isles, Turkey, Israel, and Egypt.
Then I met my husband at the age of 16 and very quickly got engaged, bought a house and then got married when I was 19. So we travelled together. Florida, Portugal, Spain and Egypt came and went over a few years.
At 22 the twins came along and although we couldn’t always afford to take them abroad, we did do family holiday to Spain and Florida.
Then 10 of my husbands family took a trip of a lifetime to St Lucia 3 years ago.
Once I started blogging, my blog wifey Boo of ‘Does my blog make me look fat’ and I travelled to Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, France, Slovenia, Austria and Slovakia.
So here I am at 44 never having done this on my own. And that is where Stuttgart comes into the picture.
I have ALWAYS wanted to visit Germany, ever since I started learning the language at senior school. I took it as an option for my GCSE’S and unlike French (which I was rubbish at) I picked up German really quite easily and I loved it.
My first job was for a company called RCI which was a the number 1 timeshare swapping company in the World. Basically members owned a timeshare and if they didn’t want to go to their place over the weeks they ‘owned’ they could give them to RCI and take out another place that a different member had deposited.
Basically if I owned 2 weeks in a villa in Portugal, I could ‘bank’ it and then book 2 weeks at some other members villa in Thailand or the Caribbean or even a different part of Portugal if I so chose.
It was my responsibility to take calls from German speaking members and book their holidays. We even had German lessons during our lunchtime once a week. I literally loved this part of the job and was always happy to take the calls.
After I had the twins, I didn’t want to work the shifts and sadly left the company. With nowhere to practice the language, I lost pretty much all of my vocabulary. As they say, if you don’t use it you will lose it.
Now for the reason I am going to Stuttgart.
A couple of years ago I was introduced to a wonderful lady, Rhina Duque through a vintage event and we hit it off. Originally from Venezuela, she was working here at Kew Gardens and her husband (who is German) worked at the Natural History Museum.
We have had our own adventures including a tour of Kew, cocktails, Londonedge and Turkish meals. We have been to the salon together and met up at various vintage soirees.
She is one of the people who just radiates life. She has a zest and verve that is very infectious. I find my spirits lifting when I am in her presence, she is just a fireball of energy that builds everyone to go along with her.
So it was with much sadness that she announced that in July 2017 she was returning back to Germany with her husband. I was absolutely gutted as I felt our friendship was still at the start of something brilliant. But I fully understood why they were moving back.
Fast forward to January 2018 and a bit of a surprise when Rhina messaged me and invited me to visit her during Oktoberfest!
What a wonderful opportunity and one I certainly didn’t want to miss.
I duly booked the time off work, and started looking into the flights. Now from the UK it isn’t always easy to fly to Stuttgart; well not on the days from the airports closest to home. However I ended up finding a couple of flights from Heathrow and £100 later (including a suitcase) and I was all set.
Nine months later and I am due to depart early tomorrow morning. If all goes to plan I should arrive in Stuttgart at 1145 local time.
Now, most people would arrive, unpack and maybe relax over a hot drink. But not us!
Rhina has organised a vintage style photo shoot with the most amazing lady, Cina Uiker. The best part about it? She has permission to shoot us in the unopened Canstatter Wasen, a beautiful Fairground which we have all to ourselves. How spectacular it that?
As you can tell I am very excited to be doing this with my friend.
Also on the agenda are trips to cultural buildings, museums and a spa where only ladies go and you aren’t allowed to wear clothing! Yeah, I have to admit to being a little (HUGE LOT) nervous about that one, but in for a penny and all that.
Of course, the highlight of the trip will be the Festivals themselves, with parades, parties and lots of beer. Throw in some fantastic cuisine and you have everything anyone would need for a right old knees up.
Prior to Oktoberfest we will also be going dirndl shopping to see if I can get a traditional outfit to wear to the party. I have wanted one since I saw The Sound of Music when I was a little girl (yes I do realise that was Austria). I am just hoping I can get one to fit my plus size figure. Either way we will have fun trying.
Add in lots of museums, spectacular buildings and hopefully a bit of cake and it will all add up to a happy Secretplussizegoddess
So, and I hope I have got this right, Deutschland und Rhina, hier komme ich!